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When Are You Too Old To Learn Thai?


SpiceMan
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Just a quick observation;

In the nearly 9 years of living here and studying thai for 6+ on my own, I have NEVER EVER heard a single "real life Thai" (as in Somchai the thai on the street) say ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัภto anyone else; be it another thai or a foreigner when they're introduced.

 

In fact, the ONLY place I've heard this phrase was in a Thai language school while observing a class of theirs so I could write a review about the school.

 

I am firmly of the mind that most Thai schools teach non-native speakers a version of thai that sounds "non-native", "artificial" and most definitely "foreign". It's almost as if these people are teaching us a version of Thai they wish they spoke, but in reality don't.. No wonder we sound foreign when we speak after the b/s crap we're spoon-fed in Thai language schools...

 

I concur with JaiRai; learning the ใจ words (both with ใจ in front another word and with it following another word) is beneficial. Just like learning the ขี้ words; which BTW just so we're clear about this; when ขี้ is used in front of another word in regards to a personality trait, it does NOT carry its base meaning of "shit/feces". It carries this meaning when used in front of nouns like; ขี้ตา sleep in your eye, ขี้มูภboogers in your nose, ขี้ไà¸à¹ˆ chicken shit, ขี้เถ้า ashes ขี้ฟัน stuff stuck between your teeth, etc..

 

When ขี้ is used as a modifier in front of verbs/adjectives/adverbs it is a negative personality trait intensifier..

 

Here's Thai-language dot com's ขี้ page; scroll down to 2 and read the words:

http://www.thai-language.com/id/133007

 

Oh and here's the ใจ words too; scroll down to 3 and read the prefix/suffix words:

http://www.thai-language.com/id/131628

 

Good Luck, keep at it, I know if I can speak something which resembles Thai enough so that these people (the thais) understand me and answer back in Thai, that anyone who really wants to can do it too..

 

After all I'm just a dumb hillbilly from Ohio who happens to live here.

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I expect the rather pompous Thai goes back to Mary Haas and her pioneering Thai language books of the early 1940s. A friend who had been a Thailand Peace Corps volunteer in the mid 1960s said they had used Mary Haas's books. As a result, Thais would sometimes ask, "Why do you sound so old fashioned?

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I expect the rather pompous Thai goes back to Mary Haas and her pioneering Thai language books of the early 1940s. A friend who had been a Thailand Peace Corps volunteer in the mid 1960s said they had used Mary Haas's books. As a result, Thais would sometimes ask, "Why do you sound so old fashioned?

 

While I wholeheartedly agree that much of the Thai in Haas' books is far removed from the way people speak on an everyday basis, and that it's done its share of damage in Thai language classrooms, I think that the Thais are perfectly capable of accomplishing such "damage" on their own, meaning teachers who have never heard of Haas or used her materials.

 

I work--and have worked, for years--with Thai teachers of Thai language to foreigners in Thailand and in the US, and they all (well, there are a few bright, shining exceptions) tend to teach a very idealized, hyper-formal type of Thai...sometimes going so far as to not even want to expose their students to "rough," "vulgar" (and very common!!) forms of speaking... In the language I teach, I expose students to everything, but explain very clearly the "rough" language they should understand but never use, etc. This comes from, I think, a more general desire on the part of Thais to present a very careful, specific view of what they think is the best face of their culture and language to foreigners (a view that has little basis in everyday communicative reality). Sadly, many farangs buy into this same bullshit view (and participate in its propagation).

 

A friend of mine, a brilliant speaker of Thai (a farang) I worked with in Bangkok a few years ago, put it very well, when he said: "ah, standard classroom Thai: taught by all, spoken by none". Though in reference to what an earlier poster said: I HAVE heard plenty of Thais, when they're trying to be very polite and proper (including bar girls), say ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัภin real life...

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  • 3 weeks later...

When ขี้ is used as a modifier in front of verbs/adjectives/adverbs it is a negative personality trait intensifier..

 

Here's Thai-language dot com's ขี้ page; scroll down to 2 and read the words:

http://www.thai-language.com/id/133007

 

Oh and here's the ใจ words too; scroll down to 3 and read the prefix/suffix words:

http://www.thai-language.com/id/131628

 

 

 

Meant to post a thank you in the past for those links and the clarification on kii. Though I'm still confused on what a kii nok is because I always get random and vague explanations - (and no, nobody has called me that, but have definitely heard it).

 

My understanding is it only applies to Farang. But when people explain it they often diverge into something about the fruit farang also and some sort of cross definition.

 

Anyway.....

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Meant to post a thank you in the past for those links and the clarification on kii. Though I'm still confused on what a kii nok is because I always get random and vague explanations - (and no, nobody has called me that, but have definitely heard it).

 

My understanding is it only applies to Farang. But when people explain it they often diverge into something about the fruit farang also and some sort of cross definition.

 

Anyway.....

 

It pretty much does only "apply" to farang, and that's totally a passive-aggressive (favorite Thai mode of social interaction :) ) thing...

 

The assumption implicit in "khii nok" being hurled at a farang is, "you're richer than me, you should be paying for everything I consume"...and if you for whatever reason refuse to assume that role, I'll try to badger you into it by calling you "khii nok".

 

It only has any effect if you LET IT! ;)

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Thanks for that. Had an interesting conversation here in Los Angeles about it yesterday (Saturday). Went to get my hair cut by my usual person (older Thai woman, been in California since 1970s), and there were a few other Thai women in the salon of various ages. So I asked them --> what's up with 'Farang kii nok'?

 

THAT got it started. The woman who cuts my hair said 'oh, falang kii nok is not an insult, only low class people would use it like that...' but the younger gals quickly disagreed with her. One whom is quite bright explained it as such: farang kii nok on the one hand symbolizes a type of guava (farang) eaten by birds, a guava that looks appealing but tastes bad to people. This evolved into common slang for any falang - of the human variant - who is not of good quality (eg, inedible, or bad to the taste, and of little value [read: poor]).

 

Or something like that.

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Chatting with my taxi driver from the airport late last night, he mumbled "farang kee nok"...which I

smiled and replied, "farang kee nok nit noi" and we both chuckled.

 

When we loaded up and left the airport he didn't ask but switched on the meter. I was surprised but

no matter I know what the meter will read at the end of the journey and how many kilometers, all which

I told him (in Thai).

He told me how much the gas would cost to get to my house and that he would not have a fare going back to the airport.

I told him I understood and he would receive a nice tip. In the USA for such a taxi ride, we would pay 150% of the amount on the

meter, so he would have some $$$ for the empty ride back.

As I told him, my meter fare was 500 Baht, I paid the toll cost (50 Baht) and gave him 800 Baht. He was happy.

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Back in 1973 or '74, when the USAF bases were still in Thailand, I was told that "farang khi nok" was used to refer to a Thai who tried too hard to act like a GI. It was especially applied to young guys who dressed in American clothes (e.g. jeans) and sprinkled a lot of English slang into their Thai speech. After the GIs were gone, it seemed to be transfered to any Farang whose dress or conduct they did not approve of.

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